Aroma and Cure
Cinnamon! The name itself evokes a magical aroma. We know too well how cinnamon spices up motley foods from soup to gravies to breads and more.
We use it in our biryanis and pulaos, meats and vegetables, cakes and pastries, pizzas and cookies, ice-creams and shakes…just about everywhere. As a spice cinnamon has the versatility of a culinary gymnast. It is also so gentle and comforting it fits into every cuisine.
But do you know cinnamon also heals, clears away acne, and lends its heavenly fragrance to your space? That’s how versatile cinnamon is.
What is the True Cinnamon?
There are about 250 species of the spice discovered of which the most popular are cinnamon (Cinnamon verum or Cinnamomum zeylancium) and cassia (Cinnamomum cassia). They look almost alike but there are differences though no major nutritional differences:
- Cinnamon has a thin bark that rolls up neatly like a newspaper and its color is a light tan brown. Cassia’s bark is thick and it rolls up on both sides and its color is a darker rust brown.
- Cinnamon is thin, fragile and easy to grind. Cassia is tough and hard to grind.
- Cinnamon’s aroma is delicate and sweet. Cassia’s aroma is earthy and pungent.
- Cinnamon is more expensive than cassia.
8 Benefits of Cinnamon:
Not only is it among the world’s oldest spices, cinnamon’s benefits are also multi-faceted: it is anti-fungal, antibacterial, antipyretic, analgesic and antioxidant, to name a few of them. So whether you savour its aroma, eat it, or apply it, any which way you reap cinnamon’s benefits.
Now get surprised with these 8 amazing and ingenious uses of cinnamon.
1. Diabetes, cancer, weight loss and Alzheimer’s disease
Some diabetic patients were each given a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon powder over a period of forty days during Clinical studies conducted on them. Researchers then observed marked falls in blood sugar levels, which reduced their insulin resistance. In fact, the studies indicated many other beneficial effects on the body’s metabolism. Some of these effects are an increase in insulin sensitivity and glucose transport, a decrease of inflammation, an inhibition of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and strokes. Cinnamon is found to improve fasting sugar, decrease systolic blood pressure, and enhance antioxidant protection of lipids and proteins. It also triples insulin’s capacity to metabolize blood sugar so your hunger decreases and craving for sugar diminishes, which promotes lean body mass and ultimate weight loss.
2. Cholesterol and Blood Circulation
The studies also indicated a decrease in fasting glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol), while the good cholesterol HDL or high-density lipoprotein increases. Cinnamon also thins the blood, allowing for an increase in circulation, alleviating pain and maximizing oxygen supply to the blood cells. Complement your diet with cinnamon to help improve your heart’s health. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on your salads or soups.
3. Arthritic Pain
Researchers discovered how cinnamon can slow down or suppress several major bone diseases like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and bone metastasis. The phytochemical cinnamaldehyde present in the herb inhibits osteoclast (cells that nibble the bones) formation, preventing damage to the bones and alleviating arthritic pains.
4. Bladder Infections
The compounds eugenol and cinnamaldehyde present give cinnamon its powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in treating UTI (urinary tract infections). Because of its diuretic properties, it helps to flush out toxins from the body system. Cinnamon added to teas is a great way to imbibe its goodness.
5. Stomach Upset
Cinnamon contains carminative properties that help relieve gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, flatulence, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, dyspepsia, appetite loss and stomach ulcers. A little cinnamon every now and then will let its great anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-analgesic powers keep your stomach problem-free.
6. Cold and Flu
Cinnamon powder mixed with warmed honey can give immense relief to sufferers of the common cold. Although there is no cure for this viral disease the essential oils present are potent bacteria killers. Used with honey – which is a known immunity booster – the combination becomes an effective flu reliever. A word of caution: don’t overload with cinnamon – just a quarter of a teaspoon and a teaspoon of honey will do. You can mix it with tea to make it a cinnamon-honey-tea combination.
Acne and pimples are the banes of most teenagers and young adults alike. But cinnamon’s essential oils can end the colonization of acne-causing bacteria on your skin. Mix it with organic honey and you get a skincare treatment to effectively help root out acne. Combine a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with three teaspoons of organic honey. Apply and leave overnight. Wash thoroughly in the morning.
8. Brain Power
Two of cinnamon’s compounds, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, are found to inhibit the growth of the brain proteins (tau) responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease. Further, the cinnamon you ingest gets into the liver which metabolizes the cinnamaldehyde into sodium benzoate, which is a neuroprotective compound that helps prevent your brain cells from Parkinson’s disease. What’s more, studies reveal that even taking a whiff of cinnamon raises your cognitive and memory functions. So boost your brain power and stay alert with cinnamon every day.
How can I Consume Cinnamon?
Use it in powder form with your tea, or mix it with honey or both. To boost brain power you may keep a stick and sniff it whenever you feel the need to energize your brain.
A word of caution though: consume no than ¼ teaspoon of the powder a day. Large amounts can be dangerous. If you have low blood pressure or low sugar, restrict or reduce cinnamon consumption to amounts used in food or medicinal preparations. Also, check if you are allergic to cinnamon.
The Best Cinnamon
Organic is, of course, the best. Zizira explorers discovered cinnamon organically grown in Meghalaya and manually peeled and sun-dried, it is filled with goodness, flavor and taste. Find out more about us and what we do at www.zizira.com.